Richard Way, editor of the Overseas Guides Company
Richard Way, editor of the Overseas Guides Company

The editor of Homes&Travel has pointed out that he receives a great many enquiries about owning a property abroad and many are for France.

France has always been a firm favourite with the British and many own holiday homes in this remarkable country. Others seek to retire there but whatever the reason, it offers such a wide range of lifestyles, properties and landscape from the Côte d’Azur to the Normandy beaches that it truly has something to offer for everyone.

Our stats clearly show the popularity of the country and we as a company have seen a surge of over 40% in overseas property enquiries in 2012.


Leads into OGC per Country, 2012

Country

Q1

Q2

Q3

Oct

Nov

Dec

Q4

Total

America

1,002

931

930

293

325

183

801

3,664

Australia

598

328

320

74

83

51

208

1,454

Canada

467

286

320

100

107

83

290

1,363

Cyprus

235

299

343

86

85

56

227

1,104

France

1,405

1,424

1,898

646

665

517

1,828

6,555

Greece

154

293

318

72

74

34

180

945

Italy

339

468

629

166

177

87

430

1,866

Others

176

234

270

110

108

54

272

952

New Zealand

404

185

215

96

92

60

248

1,052

Portugal

391

454

587

186

174

90

450

1,882

Spain

1,056

1,482

1,867

663

673

296

1,632

6,037

Turkey

241

323

392

128

91

50

269

1,225

Total leads

6,468

6,707

8,089

2,620

2,654

1,561

6,835

28,099

Two of the most frequently asked questions are as follows.

1. How can a potential buyer go about getting a survey carried out on a French property? Are there different levels of surveys as in the UK?

Surveys are not as common in France before a contract is signed. A seller must provide a certain number of inspection reports prior to completion of the contract, including such issues as tests for the presence of termites, lead-based paint and asbestos; inspections of the drainage, gas and electrical systems; verification that a swimming pool is suitably protected.  The actual inspection reports carried out will depend upon the type, age and location of the property.

However such reports are often little more than ‘health checks’ – for example, the termite inspection will reveal if there is any current infestation by termites, but would not necessarily clarify whether a previous infestation has damaged the structural woodwork.

A survey would be fully independent, and the surveyor should be able to reveal all potential problems with the property. There are a number of surveyors with specialist knowledge of French construction methods and planning rules who would be able to carry out such work, and some offer different levels of service to suit the needs of their clients.

We generally advocate that our clients commission a survey, and wemaintain a small list of suitable professionals.

2.Will owners get permission to be included in the French medical system?

If people are moving to France permanently, they will initially remain within the UK medical system. They should, though, contact their DSS office to notify them of the move. As EU citizens they will then have a right to join the local medical system, although this may well require payment. Top-up insurance can be obtained. There are circumstances under which it is possible to qualify for free medical cover.

Richard Way, Editor, Overseas Guides Company (OGC)

www.OverseasGuidesCompany.com

+44 207 898 0549

Information on surveys and French medical system supplied by Matthew Cameron, Ashton KCJ www.ashtonkcj.co.uk an Associate of OGC

01284 727016